The Repsol Honda Team put on a strong performance in Qualifying today for the 2012 MotoGP Grand Prix of Catalunya and if not for Dani Pedrosa braking late in turn 10 and going off track during his hot lap, we might have a seen a Honda 1-2 on the grid tomorrow.
“It was a difficult qualifying session because I spent a major part of the hour testing the used soft tyres and I was down in the classification. But I was not worried because I knew that I had two new soft tyres for the end of the practice. When we put the first one on, I immediately improved my lap times and I jumped to second place then on my final flying lap I braked too late, I had a big shake on the bike and I ran wide. From this side it’s a pity because I missed my chance at pole position or, at least, the front row of the grid.” said Dani Pedrosa, who will start fifth on grid tomorrow.
Casey Stoner, who dominated today’s qualifying session, was his usual best. “We were in and out a lot during the session trying a few different things, hoping to reduce the chatter which is still proving to be a problem, as soon as I touch the throttle the bike starts to chatter in the rear and it’s making things very difficult. Towards the end of the session we managed to improve it slightly but I think we need to make another step before the race. Tomorrow, for sure tyre degradation is going to play a role so we’re going to have to wait and see but I’m happy to start from pole”. he said after today’s qualifying session.
Lorenzo who finished third, was also not entirely happy with his Yamaha. “I almost crashed in T3 on my first hot lap on the bumps so second place is good for tomorrow. We still need a little good feeling on the front; we are struggling on some corners so we need to improve the feeling or it’s going to be difficult in the race. We would have liked to be on pole, but we are happy with the position.” he said.
Team mate Ben Spies was finally back in a fighting position, landing 4th on the grid. Spees though, seems to be entirely happy with his bike. “I’m a little frustrated as I lost a couple of tenths on one of the splits which would have put me on the front row. I think I had almost too much grip through T1 and T2 with the soft tyre! The bike is working really well, the team’s worked hard to deliver a good set up so I’m confident we can run a competitive pace and stay with it tomorrow. It’s going to be a tough race and I’m hoping the rain stays off!”
Cal Crutchlow’s provided the excitement for the afternoon, moving up and down the grid with no time waster. Crtuchlow did lead the timesheets with just over 10 minutes left on the clock when he posted a time of 1.41.922, but the onslaught began when the others started posting faster times on soft tyres. With just over two minutes remaining, he posted another hot lap and will start third on grid tomorrow, just as he did in Estoril.
Leaving no doubts about the capability of the Yamaha YZR-M1, Dovizioso moved to the top of the table with a time 1.41.931 for a while. He finished the qualifying session with a time of 1.41.687 and will start from sixth on the grid.
Nicky Hayden, Stefan Bradl, Valentino Rossi, Alvaro Bautista complete the top ten.
Randy de Puniet riding the ART machine for Power Electronics Aspar was the fastest CRT on track and will start 13th on grid tomorrow. Colin Edwards, who missed out on the LeMans race after the crash at Estoril will start behind Randy de Puniet.